Perfumers on Perfume : Ernest Beaux on Fragrance Masterpieces

Today we know Ernest Beaux first and foremost as the creator of Chanel No. 5, but he was also responsible for Bois des Îles, Cuir de Russie, No. 22, and many other early Chanel perfumes. His style is elegant and graceful, but with a strong character. Soir de Paris, a fragrance he created for Bourjois, doesn’t just skip from one note to another; it shimmers, revealing in one moment a peppery citrus and green leaves, and in another a velvety rose and wood shavings. As it turns out, Beaux was not only a great perfumer; he was also a good writer, and his candid observations remain relevant today. In partnership with the Osmothèque, I offer you an excerpt from Memories of a perfumer (Souvenirs d’un parfumeur), a 1946 magazine article by Ernest Beaux published in Industrie de la Parfumerie.   

Ernest-Beaux

The article gives a glimpse into what Beaux considered to be the greatest perfumes of his time and his thoughts on the art of perfumery in general. “If our thoughts are but fantasies, such fantasy finds, thanks to the talent of the perfumer, a possibility of fulfillment,” he writes, and I cannot agree more.

The article comes from the archives of the Osmothèque, a French non-profit institution whose mission is to preserve fragrances in their original formulations. The current regulations make it impossible for Chanel to offer No.5 as Beaux intended it to be, but the Osmothèque features it in its collection, which is open to the public. You can also discover there the fragrance masterpieces Beaux mentions in the article:  Houbigant Cœur de Jeannette, Houbigant Fougère Royale, Houbigant Le Parfum Idéal, Houbigant Quelques Fleurs, Piver Le Trèfle Incarnat, Roger & Gallet Vera Violetta, Guerlain Jicky, Guerlain Après l’Ondée, Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, Coty La Rose Jacqueminot, Coty L’Origan, Caron Le Narcisse Noir, Lanvin Scandal, and Lanvin Arpège.

Translated into English by Will Inrig.

“At what period did I create it [Chanel No. 5]? In exactly 1920. Upon my return from the war. I had been led on campaign to the northern part of Europe beyond the Arctic Circle at the time of the midnight sun, when the lakes and rivers release a perfume of extreme freshness. I retained that note and replicated it, not without some difficulty, as the first aldehydes I could find were unstable and of an irregular production.

Why that designation? Mademoiselle Chanel, who had a fashion house greatly in vogue, requested of me several perfumes. I went to present her with my creations – two series: 1 to 5 and 20 to 24. From these she chose several, including one labelled Number 5, and when I asked “What name should be given to it?”, Mademoiselle Chanel replied: “I present my dress collection on the 5th of May, the fifth month of the year; we shall thus leave the number with which it is labelled and this number 5 shall bring it good luck.”

I must recognise that she was in no way mistaken. That new note enjoyed and continues to enjoy a very marked success; few perfumes have been imitated and counterfeited as has been Chanel No. 5

Obviously, I had made other perfumes before this No. 5, as my first creation dates from 1907, when in Moscow I had recently been named Member of the Board and Technical Director of the Société Rallet. In 1912 my creation Le Bouquet Napoléon, honoring the centenary of the battle of Battle of Borodino, proved an incredible success.

After five years on campaign, I created in 1919-1920, in addition to No. 5 of which I have spoken, No. 22 and a whole series of different perfumes. In 1922, my friend, Mr Charabot, asked me to represent him in Paris, but in 1924, Messrs. Paul and Pierre Wertheimer decided I would return to the creation of perfumes and have since released among others: Gardénia, Bois des Îles, Cuir de Russie at Chanel and Soir de Paris and Kobako at Bourjois.

It is thanks to an atmosphere of total freedom and an understanding of the role that falls to the creator that I have been able to realize my ideas.

ErnestBeaux1-osmotheque-300chanel

Throughout my career numerous perfumes left upon me a marked impression. In my early days these were Bayley’s Ess. Bouquet, Lubin’s Chypre, Piver’s Le Trèfle Incarnat, Roger & Gallet’s Vera Violetta. The greatest perfumer of his time, Mr Parquet, created Le Parfum Idéal, Fougère Royale and Cœur de Jeannette, all admirable perfumes, and later Mr Bienaimé composed Quelques Fleurs with its new note of lilac that proved a considerable success for the house of Houbigant.

I see the Guerlain family as having contributed to the glory of French Perfumery with Jicky, Après l’Ondée, L’Heure Bleue and other creations of great class, as well as Coty with La Rose Jacqueminot and L’Origan, and I am notably reminded of the unprecedented craze for these two perfumes in France and abroad.

Mr Daltroff (Parfumerie Caron) brought us an interesting note with Narcisse Noir – and we soon saw appear creations of exquisite taste like Lanvin’s Scandal and Arpège.

soir1ErnestBeaux

I stop myself there, not because I have nothing to say of other perfumes, among which there exist a great number of good and excellent ones, but because I am lacking in space and still wish to speak of the perfumer and his art.

Because for me Perfumery is an art and the true perfumer must be an artist.

As the musician must first learn his notes and his solfège, as the painter must first study drawing and colour, so must the perfumer know raw materials. He must analyse, training himself to dissect scents and forging a perfect recollection of all substances already smelled. He retains a certain number of these substances and thus builds his palette.

The same as a painter maintains his palette though he changes style, a perfumer may distinguish himself precisely by the assortment of materials he prefers to employ. The perfumer creates for himself ‘standard accords’ that serve him in specific cases and facilitate his work. He can then compose a perfume; for this it is essential that he has an idea, that he knows what he wants to make and that all his efforts tend towards the goal that he sets for himself.

If our thoughts are but fantasies, such fantasy finds, thanks to the talent of the perfumer, a possibility of fulfillment; these thoughts in any case are necessarily influenced by the environment in which we live, by our readings and by our favorite artists. These are for me the French poets and writers, and also the poetry of Pushkin, the works of Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, the music of Beethoven, Debussy, Borodin, Mussorgsky. The Imperial Theatre with its Ballet and the Moscow Art Theatre, the paintings of the French School and the great Russian masters, Serov, Levitan, Repin and many others, and above all the artistic milieu that I so enjoyed frequenting.”

Beaux, Ernest. “Souvenirs d’un parfumeur.” Industrie de la Parfumerie 1.7 Oct. 1946: 228-231. Print. The original French version.

Translated from French by Will Inrig. November 12, 2013. COPYRIGHT The Osmothèque 2013.

Image: Ernest Beaux, via the Osmothèque; vintage ads of Chanel No 5 (1947) and Soir de Paris (1965).

Osmothèque, the International Perfume Conservatory and Museum
36 rue du Parc de Clagny
78100 Versailles, France
Tel : 01.39.55.46.99
email: osmotheque at wanadoo dot fr
www.osmotheque.fr (click on the Conférences et Visites tab)

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78 Comments

  • Marie: He was also a handsome man! :) Thank you to you and the Osmothèque for an interesting article. Merci! December 2, 2013 at 7:38am Reply

    • Victoria: My pleasure! I agree, isn’t he a dashing fellow! :) December 2, 2013 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Jen K: I couldn’t wait to read the first article and I’m happy to see that you’ve picked Ernest Beaux. Cuir de Russie is my favourite perfume. Is Soir de Paris still availlable? December 2, 2013 at 7:57am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s still available, but the current formula has little to do with what Beaux created. It smells good, but very different. December 2, 2013 at 12:13pm Reply

      • Jennifer C: Great article! Also, I thought it was interesting timing, because I had just run across a small bottle of Evening in Paris edt in an antique shop this past weekend. From the look of the label, it looked like it could be from the 50s or 60s. I considered buying it but didn’t. I might have to go back and revisit. December 3, 2013 at 5:58pm Reply

        • Victoria: I have a small bottle from the 1950s, and the perfume is much closer to Beaux’s idea than what’s available now. It’s quite a rich, retro blend, and I’m not sure if it suits me, but I love to smell it time to time. I imagine it on a sophisticated Agatha Christie heroine for some reason. :) December 4, 2013 at 3:39pm Reply

  • Persolaise: Such a wonderful post! Thank you, Victoria, and thanks also to Will for the translation.

    I look forward to future instalments. December 2, 2013 at 8:02am Reply

    • Victoria: I join you in thanking Will! What a treat to read Beaux’s own words. December 2, 2013 at 12:13pm Reply

  • Lydia: Thank you for a great post! I love the last paragraph where Beaux lists the writers and composers who inspired him. December 2, 2013 at 8:17am Reply

    • Victoria: It made me want to read Turgenev and listen to some Borodin. :) December 2, 2013 at 12:14pm Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: A great start to the amazing series! Many thanks to the Osmothèque and Victoria for sharing this fascinating article. It was really interesting to read about how Ernest Beaux was inspired to create No. 5 and his other sources of inspiration. The quote you picked out “If our thoughts are but fantasies…” is so precious! December 2, 2013 at 8:19am Reply

    • Victoria: I loved that part! It’s so poignant and relevant today as ever.

      I often wondered about the smell of snow and its metallic accent. It’s interesting to read that Beaux was inspired to experiment with aldehydes after his campaign in the North. December 2, 2013 at 12:16pm Reply

      • Rachel: I love the smell of snow but living in California you need to go to the mountains to experience it. Otherwise, it’s warm and sunny all year round. December 2, 2013 at 12:40pm Reply

        • Victoria: I remember missing the real winter when I lived in the South. It did snow occasionally, but whenever it happened, it was such a disaster that you had to be careful of what you wished for. December 2, 2013 at 2:48pm Reply

  • AD: Thank you for this great article. He’s possibly my favorite perfumer. I love almost everything he did for Chanel. Has anyone tried the current version of Soir de Paris? Has it been reformulated and is it still worth getting? December 2, 2013 at 8:37am Reply

    • Eric: Ha, I also asked the same thing before seeing your comment! December 2, 2013 at 10:21am Reply

    • Victoria: Soir de Paris was relaunched in 1991 and reformulated. It was an aldehydic floral blend, and now it’s mostly a rose. It smells good, and if you like classical roses, it’s a good option, but it’s not what Beaux created. December 2, 2013 at 12:17pm Reply

  • MsMitsouko: I’m so grateful for an opportunity to read Beaux’s own words. My mother wore Chanel No 5 and I can’t smell it without thinking of her. Does the Osmotheque have Le Bouquet Napoleon? December 2, 2013 at 9:14am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t believe that they do, but they have a cologne that Napoleon might have worn and that was created for him during his exile on Saint Helena. The last time I was at the Osmotheque, it was even available on sale (not an antique perfume, but a reorchestration based on the original formula). I don’t know if it’s still the case. December 2, 2013 at 12:20pm Reply

  • Kate: Can you smell any fragrance you want at the Osmothek or do they allow the public only certain ones? December 2, 2013 at 9:42am Reply

    • Victoria: If you take a group tour, you’ll smell only certain ones of the curator’s choosing, but if you book a private session, you can smell anything they have available. December 2, 2013 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Eric: Thank you! This was a great read. I remember only Soir de Paris’ packaging, not the scent. Also, its ads. Is it still good or was it reformulated to death? December 2, 2013 at 10:20am Reply

    • Victoria: As I replied to AD and Jen, today it’s completely different. Good, but completely different. December 2, 2013 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: Not to diminish the modernity of present day “noses”, the creations of yesteryear still reign supreme and continue to do so for me.
    Thanks for this article! December 2, 2013 at 10:28am Reply

    • Rachel: +1 I also wish more perfumers today wrote about their work. December 2, 2013 at 10:46am Reply

      • Victoria: Me too. Apart from Jean-Claude Ellena, few perfumers do. December 2, 2013 at 12:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: The perfumers worked in such a different manner then, and perfumes were also selected with different criteria in mind. Plus, perfumery wasn’t even a big business that it is today. For better or worse, I should add… December 2, 2013 at 12:23pm Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: Thank you for the wonderful post! Yes, I still have fond memories of the past day perfumes which was the beginning of my days as a perfumista! Although I love some of today’s perfumes, when I smell an older classic one, it brings me back to my younger days. I’m looking forward to future articles as I do your daily posts. December 2, 2013 at 10:59am Reply

    • Victoria: I love all types of fragrances, but the classics have an edge over the modern ones when it comes to the rich lore they accumulate. I especially enjoy writing about older perfumes, because invariably someone will come and tell a story of how this or that perfume reminds them of their mother or grandmother. Also, the classics had more curves than is fashionable today! December 2, 2013 at 12:26pm Reply

      • Rachel: Not only perfumes lost their curves! ;) December 2, 2013 at 12:41pm Reply

        • Victoria: So true! Curves aren’t fashionable on people either. :) December 2, 2013 at 2:49pm Reply

  • Zazie: Oh, fascinating!
    Thank you and L’osmothèque very very much!
    Love plunging into the world of such a talented perfumer and artist, as he clearly recognises himself as such.
    I want to smell Lubin’s Chypre now. I hope to bump into the osmothèque one again during Esxence, next spring.
    (I made a big detour to Versaille, during a french trip a couple of years ago, in order to visit the Osmothèque: closed in summer! I felt so bad for myself….) ;) December 2, 2013 at 11:15am Reply

    • Victoria: I made that mistake once. The last time I was in Versailles was in the summer. I completely forgot that the Osmotheque would be closed then, so I thought, fine, I’ll go visit the Chateau. But the lines were long, the rain was unrelenting, and I just turned around and left. I did visit Cour des Senteurs, which was lovely and smelled of roses and lavender. December 2, 2013 at 12:30pm Reply

  • Solanace: Ernest Beaux to open the series, this keeps getting better and better! December 2, 2013 at 12:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that you liked the first one! And Beaux is so fascinating, isn’t he? December 2, 2013 at 2:49pm Reply

      • Solanace: So charming! And his quote on the little blocks or accords a perfumer builds for later combining them was really informative. This explains why I tend to love almost everything from some houses/perfumers and strongly dislike others. A truly amazing read, thank you and the good people at the Osmothèque so much for this initiative! December 3, 2013 at 1:34am Reply

        • Victoria: I enjoy perfumes in which you can feel the creator’s fingerprint. In many cases today, the fragrances are so market-tested and market-driven that this gets lost, but in others (even in some market-tested big launches), you can still tell a distinctive feature from a certain perfume. It makes the experience so much richer. December 3, 2013 at 11:33am Reply

  • Tanya: Thank you and the Osmotheque for bring this article to us. I also have a question about Quelques Fleurs. I read that it was really badly reformulated. Is it true? It used to be my signature perfume. December 2, 2013 at 12:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: Quelques Fleurs was definitely reformulated dramatically, but the opinions range on whether it’s just different or different and not worth bothering with. The parfum version is better, but to my nose, the EDT is just too sharp. But do try it, if you have a chance. December 2, 2013 at 2:50pm Reply

  • Austenfan: A truly lovely read! Thanks again for enabling. It is so rewarding to read about someone’s passion for his work, just to share the joy of creating.

    I was puzzled by Beaux’s inspiration for Chanel No.5 being snow. Not my first thought when I smell it.

    Is there a link to the French version? December 2, 2013 at 1:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that the idea of experiment with aldehydes came most from that experience. I was wearing No 5 parfum this weekend as I was formatting the article, and it’s interesting how while No 5 dries down so warm and rich, the opening of aldehydes has a cool, mineral edge. The parfum is still the closest version to what Beaux composed.

      The Osmotheque promised the share the French version, so I will update the post once they do. December 2, 2013 at 2:54pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I’ve got a small sample of older No.5 parfum which I haven’t smelled in a long time. I remember the drydown more than the opening.
        But aldehydes can have that white blinding (sometimes noseblinding) effect. The only strongly aldehydic perfume I wear on a regular basis is White Linen, and it’s true the opening of that one is sort of cold.

        Beaux was quite a character. Interesting that he was of French-Russian descent. I am always fascinated by people with such a mixed cultural background. (I sometimes wonder whether that explains, although probably only in part, my admiration for Helen Mirren.) December 2, 2013 at 3:50pm Reply

        • maja: This should be the article in French:

          http://www.osmotheque.fr/411_p_36863/les-tresors-de-nos-archives.html

          Thanks again, Victoria, for enabling us to read these magnificent pieces. :) December 2, 2013 at 4:12pm Reply

          • Victoria: Thank you very much, Maja!
            I replaced the link with the html one from the Osmotheque, rather than using the pdf link directly (it had some symbols in it that didn’t render properly.) December 2, 2013 at 4:49pm Reply

        • Austenfan: Thanks Maja, that is very kind! December 2, 2013 at 4:53pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: yes, thank you! December 2, 2013 at 4:59pm Reply

        • Victoria: It seems like he really was. He was French, although he was born in Russia, and even after he left the country after the Revolution, he continued to be connected with the Russian milieu in France. Being Russian in France in the 1920s was still considered very exotic, and he might have cultivated that edge on purpose to attract his clients.

          If you’re interested in Russian history (specifically the end of the 19th-beginning of 20th century), I recommend a book written by my university professor. It’s called The Black Russian, and it’s a story of an American farmer born into a former slave family, Frederick Bruce Thomas. It might seem odd that Thomas went to Russia in search of freedom, but that’s exactly what he did in 1899. He found no color lines and many more freedoms than he enjoyed back in Mississippi, so he stayed. He even renamed himself Fyodor Fyodorovich Tomas and took Russian citizenship. The Bolshevik Revolution uprooted him once again, and the book explores both the racial issues and revolutionary developments in Europe through the portrait of this unique man. It’s a serious historical work, but it’s all really well-written. December 2, 2013 at 5:23pm Reply

          • Austenfan: Thanks for that tip, have just looked it up on Amazon. December 3, 2013 at 5:30pm Reply

  • Tora: What a thrill to read these words, as he wrote them, of such an important talent in the history of perfume. To think that the aldehydes in #5 were inspired by the fresh rivers and lakes above the arctic circle, and in wartime!! That was such a surprise to me. Thank you so much for letting us have a peek into the thoughts of one of the ‘fathers of modern perfume’. I look forward to more!! December 2, 2013 at 1:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: You put it so well, thank you. It’s definitely thrilling to read someone’s passionate words. They feel so relevant today, especially his emphasis on perfumers crafting our fantasies. December 2, 2013 at 3:06pm Reply

  • Deirdre: My favourite perfume by Ernest Beaux is Bois des Iles! December 2, 2013 at 3:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s my own top favorite too. December 2, 2013 at 4:49pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: What a great article! And such a wonderful beginning of the series: Beaux himself!
    I would be curious which composer inspired which perfume. Beethoven and Debussy– totally different worlds. Both are among my favourites too, especially Beethoven.
    He created so many magnificent perfumes, must have been a hard worker. His perfumes are still (more or less) alive, while many other famous perfumes of the past are almost forgotten. I remember very well the original Soir de Paris. Amazing that this wonderful scent was not expensive. I emptied many of those little blue bottles.
    I agree with Austenfan and others: it would be even better in the original French. Anyway: thank you, Osmothèque and Victoria! December 2, 2013 at 4:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: I read that Bois des Iles was inspired by Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, but it seems like he was someone inspired by his experiments with novel ingredients. The accord of aldehydes can be found in many of his perfumes, and it’s interesting to see how he used it to lighten up the rich floral notes. He also loved many ingredients that other perfumers of his time looked down upon, such as ylang-ylang and new synthetics.

      The Osmotheque published the original article online, so I’ve updated the post. Those who read French should definitely take a look at it. December 2, 2013 at 5:00pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Maybe the accord of aldehydes was inspired by the windinstruments in Beethovens symphonies! December 2, 2013 at 5:06pm Reply

        • Victoria: I love this idea, Cornelia! :) December 3, 2013 at 11:26am Reply

  • N.: Chanel No. 5 in the parfum form is my favorite perfume ever! The parfum is the best way to really experience the fragrance if anyone has not tried it. The No. 5 eau de parfum and eau de toilette do not compare to the parfum and are like totally different perfumes to me. December 2, 2013 at 6:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: Eau de Parfum was created in the 1980s, so it’s the least like the original No 5 for me. I like it still, but the parfum is my favorite version. If I want more freshness and more aldehydes, then I go for the Eau de Toilette. December 3, 2013 at 11:27am Reply

      • N.: The Eau de Toilette has too much sandalwood for me and it feels like it distorts the true essence of the fragrance. But it is much better than the Eau de Parfum. I loved the above article. I have always felt the beginning notes were somewhat cool and almost icy and it fascinated to learn he was influenced by lands beyond the Arctic Circle. December 4, 2013 at 1:18am Reply

        • Victoria: I see what you mean. I find them all to be very good, but with different accents. Of course, even the parfum today is not exactly what Beaux intended, but it’s closer to his vision than others. December 4, 2013 at 3:31pm Reply

  • kaori: Thank you, Victoria. (And maja, I will read the link carfully. ) Fascinating article. He has been a mystrious figure for me. It is a great read in this holiday season. December 2, 2013 at 8:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m very glad that you’re enjoying it. There is not much written about these perfumers of the past, and reading their own writing is special. December 3, 2013 at 11:28am Reply

  • nozknoz: His sources of inspiration are fascinating, aren’t they? And really, who wouldn’t be improved by experiencing the midnight sun and contemplating “the French poets and writers, and also the poetry of Pushkin, the works of Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, the music of Beethoven, Debussy, Borodin, Mussorgsky.” December 2, 2013 at 11:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: They really are!
      Your note about the midnight sun reminded that I was recently reading letters written by Ariadna Efron, the daughter of a Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva. She often describes the midnight sun she experienced in Siberia. She writes so passionately about the beautiful skies in the North that you forget for a moment that she was in Siberia serving her sentence in the labor camps. December 3, 2013 at 11:31am Reply

  • yomi: Lovely article as always Victoria, I am inspired by your article to start writing about my own creations now!

    Should you ever need an article on the fragrance world in Nigeria it would be my pleasure to contribute or provide information!

    Lovely article once again. December 3, 2013 at 1:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Yomi. You should definitely compile your notes, for yourself or for others. I’m sure that it would be both interesting and helpful. December 3, 2013 at 11:32am Reply

  • annemariec: I became intrigued by the mention of Kobako. There are a few reviews on fragrantica, and there is also this:
    http://cleopatrasboudoir.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/kobako-by-bourjois-c1936.html
    Looks and sounds lovely. I wonder if Beaux had an affinity for Chinese culture or if Bourjois were just following the oriental trend? December 3, 2013 at 4:28am Reply

    • Victoria: It does sound very nice! I don’t know–and I can’t find any mention in my books on it–if Beaux had any specific Chinese culture affinities, but at the time, it was such a trend. Many houses, including Guerlain, Poiret, Grossmith, etc., had perfumes with that kind of inspiration. December 3, 2013 at 11:36am Reply

  • Annikky: What an interesting read, thank you! I was especially struck by his willingness to give credit where it was due – to the houses he worked with for artistic freedom, to Mademoiselle Chanel for her intuition, to other perfumers for their excellent work, to the writers, painters and composers who influenced him.

    Maybe I’m being unfair, but this seems to happen much less these days – especially the bit about recognizing the work of other noses. December 3, 2013 at 6:18am Reply

    • Victoria: He sounds confident and knowledgeable but also humble, which is a great combination. Today, the perfumery is so intensely competitive and the question of authorship so sensitive that sometimes perfumers simply don’t even get a chance to credit others. But in the past too many perfumers took credit for the work they didn’t do, or just didn’t reveal it that they had another perfumer helping them. December 3, 2013 at 11:41am Reply

  • Ferris: What a lovely article Victoria! I love reading about great perfumes of yore and their creators. Makes me think of what the original versions of Bois des Îles, N°5, N°22 and Jicky smelled like and what inspired them. December 3, 2013 at 3:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that you liked it, Ferris! At least, we still have them available, in somewhat altered form, but they’re still excellent perfumes. December 3, 2013 at 4:39pm Reply

  • Maren: This was so enjoyable to read, and so fitting to have the first of these articles be one by Beaux, creator of the iconic no. 5. Who’d have thought that no. 5 was inspired by the freshness of the lakes and streams in the land of the midnight sun? And to have Beaux’s insight that perfumers provide the possibility of fulfilling fantasies. So fun. I look forward to the future articles! December 3, 2013 at 8:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: He always seemed like such an intriguing and mysterious character for me, and I’m also fascinated by his inspiration for No 5. It makes me see it in a completely new light. December 4, 2013 at 3:34pm Reply

  • Michael: Thanks for the article Victoria. I found it very interesting as Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles are two of my favourite fragrances. The fact that these two perfumes are still held in such high regard almost a century after their creation is a testament to the genius and skill of Ernest Beaux! December 4, 2013 at 10:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles are also fascinating, because Coco Chanel and Ernest Beaux crafted such a novel idea of a feminine scent based around the traditionally masculine notes. Of course, anyone, men or women, could wear them, but it’s refreshing all the same. December 5, 2013 at 10:57am Reply

      • Michael: I found the following excerpt from Luca Turin’s review of Cuir de Russie in ‘Perfumes: The Guide’ very interesting …

        “What is remarkable is that this rich leather effect is achieved by mixing things that have nothing to do with tanned animal skins: ylang, jasmine, iris, all of which can be perceived in the top notes.” December 7, 2013 at 8:45am Reply

  • Aretha Symon-Simmions: What a fascinating article about an even more fascinating man! I have always wondered about the reasoning for the name of Chanel No 5. Reformulation seems like a such a depressing word in the perfume world! I would love to smell all of the old classics in their original forms. Someday L’Osmotheque! December 8, 2013 at 6:04pm Reply

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